Toyota may finally cave in to customer demands for a quicker Corolla.
It wasn't too long ago that Toyota was accused of having an uninspiring lineup devoid of models enthusiasts would want to buy. This has changed in recent years with the introduction of the 86 (Scion FR-S), the upcoming resurrection of the Supra, and a slew of new TRD models. Toyota may have finally turned a corner and we don't want it to stop.
After revealing the Camry and Avalon TRD models in LA, which were already headscratchers, Toyota really blew our minds when it showed off a TRD version of the Prius. It seems no model is too docile to receive the TRD treatment, so of course, we are wondering what the next one will be. According to Car Sales, the Corolla is a likely candidate.
Speaking to Car Sales, Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer for the 86 and Supra, said Australian executives from Toyota are lobbying hard for a Gazoo Racing version of the Corolla. We have heard rumors of a GR Corolla in the works, though we aren't sure if this would also translate to a TRD-badged hot hatch for the US. Tada confirmed that a hotter Corolla has been highly demanded.
"We have lots of requests from different countries, so it's really, really challenging to decide on the order [of performance models]," he explained. It seems as though Toyota is committed to building more performance cars but hasn't decided on which ones will come first.
Hyundai recently jumped into the hot hatchback segment with the i30 and Veloster N, which may be a good benchmark for Toyota. Rather than go after lap times, Hyundai's R&D boss Albert Biermann wanted the cars to be engaging to drive. "It's not just Hyundai. Other car brands are doing this too, so we are researching this and we have to create the [right] brand strategy," Tada said.
We already know Toyota has no plans to bring its GR-branded cars to the US because it already has strong brand recognition with TRD. Hopefully, the discussions for a hotter Corolla include Toyota's North American team, or else we may end up with more forbidden fruit like the supercharged Yaris GRMN. We think the Corolla hatchback is a great looking car, though an extra 100 horsepower (around 250-260) and some handling upgrades would make it just about perfect. It may be a long shot, but we will continue to campaign for a hotter Corolla in the US.